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1997 Dodge B2500

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1997 Dodge B2500 Review

A powerful workhorse van with a legacy.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

With over a quarter century underneath its belt, the 1997 Dodge B2500, more commonly known as the Ram Van 2500 or Ram Wagon 2500, has long proven itself as a reliable work horse. Very little has changed in that time, as much of the vehicle’s design and components remain the same as or barely changed from the earliest models. The uniframe design has proven itself a light, sturdy base for both work and pleasure vehicles.

With that many years to tweak the design, it should be no surprise that little changes for the new model year. Most importantly, the widening of the cargo doors allows drivers to load larger objects and enter more easily.

The Range

Body Styles: full-size van
Engines: 3.9-liter V-6, 5.2-liter V-8, 5.9-liter V-8
Transmissions: three-speed automatic, four-speed automatic
Models: Dodge B2500 Ram Van, Dodge B2500 Ram Wagon, Dodge B2500 Maxi

What's New

The 1997 Dodge B2500 receives some minor upgrades for the new model year. The most noticeable updates include wider cargo doors and the removal of the front vent windows. The stereo system has been updated. A new ignition switch improves anti-theft protection.

Exterior

The outside of the 1997 Dodge B2500 does not look all that different than the 1977 version. The plastic grille looks cheap, but the upgrade to a chrome grille really isn’t worth the price. The B2500 is large, slab-sided, and everything you’d expect from a full-size van. The wider cargo doors do not look too obvious.

Interior

The interior of the B2500 looks rather sparse, and the ride feels slightly unpleasant. Both of these stem from the uniframe design, which sacrifices noise and vibration dampening for a cheaper, sturdier, and lighter frame. The base comes equipped with an AM/FM stereo, manual windows, and seats. All other features remain optional, and Dodge doesn’t offer many of them. The interior proves easy to clean and offers plenty of room to move around, regardless of the model chosen—passenger-centered Wagon or cargo Ram Van.

Performance & Handling

The low center of gravity resulting from the uniframe construction and the fact that the 1997 Dodge B2500 sits lower to the ground than its competitors give the B2500 better handling than many of its competitors. All of the engine and transmission combinations prove adequate. The V-6 engine lags slightly and really only suits light-duty tasks. The 5.2-liter V-8 combined with the four-speed automatic transmission provides a great balance of performance and fuel economy. Only very demanding daily use warrants the use of the 5.9-liter engine.

Safety

The 1997 Dodge B2500 comes standard with a driver’s-side front airbag and rear-wheel anti-lock brakes. The Ram Wagon has four-wheel anti-lock brakes. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration awards the B2500 three stars for driver safety and four stars for passenger safety.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge B2500, 3.9-liter V-6, three-speed automatic: 14/16 mpg city/highway
Dodge B2500, 5.2-liter V-8, three-speed automatic: 11/14 mpg city/highway
Dodge B2500, 5.2-liter V-8, four-speed automatic: 12/17 mpg city/highway
Dodge B2500, 5.9-liter V-8, four-speed automatic: 11/16 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Very low price
  • Plenty of interior space
  • Decent handling

You Won't Like

  • Rough ride
  • Ancient design

Sum Up

A powerful workhorse van with a legacy.

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